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A Question of Material Fact Exists Where an Application, although Signed by the Insured, is Prepared by the Insurer’s Agent.

Case Date: 09/18/2015

Metropolitan Property and Casualty Ins. Co. v. Calvin

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

The  Eighth Circuit held that the United States District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas, erred in granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment because a question of material fact existed.  Under Arkansas law, although a signor of a document is generally bound to know the contents of the document signed, an exception to the rule applies where an insured signs an application, which was prepared by an insurance company’s agent.  In this case, after Calvin’s home was destroyed by a fire, Metropolitan claimed that Calvin’s policy was void because of material misrepresentations in his application for homeowner’s insurance.  In short, Calvin’s application failed to disclose he had lost a previous home to fire.  The district court granted summary judgment to Metropolitan, concluding, in part, the policy was void due to material misrepresentations.  The Eighth Circuit, however, reversed Metropolitan’s summary judgment because there was a question of material fact surrounding the issue of whether the alleged misrepresentation was caused by the agent who prepared the application for the insured’s signature.  

Submitted By: John Suermann and Beth Bauer, HeplerBroom LLC
Posted: 09/21/2015


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